The latest report from the United Nations High Commission for Refugees ( UNHCR ) states that in 2015 there was a record increase in the number of people global forcibly displaced worldwide.
By the end of that year a total of 65.3 million individuals across the globe had compelled to abandon their homes as a result of conflict, persecution, generalized violence, or violations of human rights. Broadly speaking those forced to seek refuge can be categorized as follows:
– 40.8 million internally displaced within the borders of their own countries;
– 21.3 million refugees (including 123,00 in UK and 118,00 in Italy);
– 3.2 million asylum seekers (including 45,870 in UK and 60,000 in Italy).
Over the previous four years the global population of forcibly displaced people had already increased by more than 50 %, with 42.5 million in 2011, 45.2 in 2012, 51.2 in 2013 and 59.5 million in 2014.
Ban Ki Moon, the United Nations General Secretary, says, “ We are facing the biggest refugee and displacement crisis of our time. Above all, this is just not a crisis of numbers, it is also a crisis of solidarity.”
Filippo Grandi, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, states “ The willingness of nations to work together not just for refugees but for the collective human interest is what’s being tested today, and it’s this spirit of unity that badly needs to prevail.”
In 2015, 8,6 million people were forced were newly displaced within the borders of their own countries by armed conflict, generalized violence, and human rights violations. Taking into account the cumulative figures of previous years, Colombia ranks as number one for having the highest quantity of internally displaced people (6.9 million), followed by Iraq (4.4 million ).
In 2015 again, 1.8 million people were forced to flee their countries and become refugees. Turkey registered the largest number of new refugees, including 946,800 from Syria.
More than 50% of all refugees worldwide come from just three countries: Syria ( 4.9 million ), Afghanistan ( 2.7 million ) and Somalia ( 1.1 million ). The overwhelming majority of Syrian refugees were hosted by neighbouring countries, most notably Turkey ( 2.5 million ), Lebanon ( 1.1 million ), Jordan ( 628.000 ),
Iraq ( 244.000 ) and Egypt ( 117.000 ). Major hosted countries for Syrian refugees outside the immediate region include Germany (115.600) and Sweden (52,700).
The Afghan refugee population worldwide was estimated at amounting to 2.7 million at the end of 2015. The majority of these refugees are now in Pakistan (1.6 million), Iran ( 950.000 ), with further 30,000 in Germany, 17,500 in Austria, 13,100 in Sweden, 12,200 in Italy and 10,200 in India.
Over 1 million people arrived in Europe in the course of 2015 year, mainly from the three countries best known for crating refugees: Syria (50 % ), Afghanistan ( 21% ) and Iraq ( 9% ), and also from Eritrea, Pakistan, Iran, Nigeria, Morocco and Sudan.
The majority of these new arrivals – at least 850,000 people – crossed the Aegean Sea from Turkey and arrived in Greece, while the minority crossed the Mediterranean Sea and fetched up in Italy (153,800) and Spain (15,400 ). At the same time some 3,770 people died or were reported missing at sea.
The conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria have drawn international attention to the dramatic exodus of forcibly displaced peoples, but other humanitarian crises are also scaring Burundi, Libya, Niger, Nigeria, Sudan, Central African Republic, Congo and Yemen.
Every 60 seconds an average of 24 people worldwide are forcibly displaced from their homes. The number of displaced persons is now equal to the population of what would rank as the 21st largest country in the world, ahead of the United Kingdom.
According to the UNHCR’s report, war – or armed conflict – is the main driver of the forcible displacement of people as refugees, of which 50% are children.
In every country the general public is becoming increasingly sensitive to whatsoever is perceived as the effects of immigration on living standards, and people traffickers are generally looked upon as the perpetrators of the greatest of all evils, requiring immediate eradication by any means available. At the same time, however, people hesitate to demand that their governments promote peace and better conditions for life in those areas where people traffickers flourish.